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Shamans, Ghosts and Hobgoblins Amidst Korean Folk Customs

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines some of the more prominent aspects of Korean folk customs, especially in the context of the mid- to late- Chosŏn period, which are related to shamans and their ongoing battle with spirits from the next world. It is in these confrontations that we can find fundamental aspects of Korean folk belief and examine how people of pre-modern Korea might have viewed their place within the cosmos. The plethora of ghosts, spirits, and hobgoblins in Korean culture reflects the interrelation between the human world with that of the spirits. A world without these supernatural entities is not imaginable in Korean culture, as their influences explain both hardships in human life and also auspicious events. The blending of spirits and humans is how the cosmos operates, and for fortune and success one necessarily should pay homage to the other residents of this world.

Keywords: Chosŏn; Ghosts; Hobgoblins; Korean culture; Korean Folk Customs; Shamans



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